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Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list by county the current estimate of the red squirrel population ; and what were the figures (a) five years and (b) 10 years ago ; and if he will make a statement.
Sir Hector Monro : Information on the red squirrel population is not available by county. The estimated total population of red squirrel in Scotland is 121,000 but there are no comparable figures for five and 10 years ago. The red squirrel is fully protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Scottish Natural Heritage is organising a conference of parties interested in squirrel management in Scotland in October of this year.
Mr. McMaster : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how the costs of funding Strathclyde police will be apportioned to constituent local authorities in future years ; what will be the basis of calculation of contribution from each authority ; and if he will make a statement.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : The amalgamation scheme for the new Strathclyde joint police board following local government reorganisation will specify how the payment by the constituent authorities of the expenditure incurred by the board will be apportioned. My right hon. Friend will consult the authorities, before
Column 236making the scheme, to seek their views on how costs should be apportioned, and will take full account of their preferences before making the amalgamation scheme.
Mr. McMaster : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what is his latest estimate of the total value of revenue lost to local authorities by non-payment of non-domestic rates ; if he will publish a table showing the value of unpaid non-domestic rates for each (a) regional and (b) district authority in cash terms for the latest year for which figures are available ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Stewart : In calculating the amounts which levying authorities have to contribute to the non-domestic rating pool, the Scottish Office Environment Department assumes that authorities will write off 1 per cent. of non-domestic rate income annually. Information about the level of actual non-payment in individual authority areas is not held centrally. However, local authorities do not lose any revenue as a result of non-payment of non -domestic rates as within each authority's overall level of aggregate external finance--which comprises non-domestic rate income, revenue support grant and specific grants--any shortfall of non-domestic rate income is made up with revenue support grant.
Mr. McMaster : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what are the specific powers and duties of (a) strategic planning authorities, (b) local planning authorities, (c) environmental health authorities, (d) Her Majesty's inspector of pollution and (e) other public bodies in relation to control of blasting and operational activities at quarries in Scotland ; what plans he has to seek additional powers for any of these bodies ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Stewart : Planning authorities in Scotland--regional, islands and district councils--have powers under the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1972 to grant planning permission in respect of, inter alia, quarrying proposals : in so doing, they may impose conditions restricting operational practices including, for example, times of blasting, suppression of noise, dust and so on.
Environmental health authorities in Scotland--islands and district councils --have general powers under part III of the Control of Pollution Act 1974 and section 16 of the Public Health (Scotland) Act 1897 to control noise nuisance. They also have powers under part I of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to control dust and other emissions to the atmosphere.
Her Majesty's industrial pollution inspectorate has no specific powers or duties in relation to blasting or other operational activities at quarries in Scotland. The Health and Safety Executive is responsible for making arrangements for the enforcement of health and safety legislation at quarries in Scotland. Its powers and duties are set out in the Health and Safety at Work, etc. Act 1974 and other relevant statutory provisions.
My right hon. Friend is satisfied that the powers available to these bodies are sufficient, and has no plans, at present, to seek to add to them.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : Homepoint is the result of action initiated by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland to invite Scottish Homes to evaluate the quality and availability of housing information and advice. The remit of Homepoint is to improve the quality and scope of such advice in Scotland, working through local authorities, voluntary providers and the private sector. I understand that Homepoint has just issued its third newsletter and that this describes progress made to date ; copies can be obtained from Scottish Homes.
Mr. Davidson : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will take account of the proposal of the Secretary of State for the Environment on councillors' allowances ; and if he will produce a consultative paper on increasing payments to councillors in Scotland.
Column 238allowances introduced in April 1991. This will take account of the current Department of the Environment consultation exercise.
Mrs. Fyfe : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much subsidy was directed towards (a) council housing and (b) other public sector housing (i) in the latest year for which he has information and (ii) in 1979.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton [holding answer 20 June 1994] : In 1979-80 direct subsidies to council housing through housing support grant and rate fund contributions amounted to £286.3 million, compared with £36.1 million in 1993-94. In 1979-80, subsidies to other Scottish public sector housing amounted to £64.9 million, compared with £21.3 million in 1993-94. The reduction reflects the Government's policy of moving away from indiscriminate general subsidies.
Assistance is now targeted on tenants in greatest need through the housing benefit system. Housing benefit payments made to Scottish public sector tenants in 1993-94 totalled nearly £600 million.
Mr. Key : I refer the hon. Member to the answer that I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Dartford (Mr. Dunn) on 27 May 1993 at columns 683-84 in which I announced that, following the review of the Driving Standards Agency's framework document, I had decided that these functions should continue to be conducted by an executive agency of the Department of Transport. The position will be reviewed in three to four years time.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received up to May for the repeal of the Aliens Restriction (Amendment) Act 1919 requirement for British officers on British-registered vessels.
Mr. Morley : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what plans he has to prevent cases of hunt trespass on railway lines ; and if he will issue warnings to hunts for dangerous trespass ; (2) what plans he has to issue warnings to hunts involved in incidents of hunt trespass on railway lines.
Mr. Freeman : None. The prevention of hunt trespass on railway lines is a matter for Railtrack and the British Transport police. The BTP issues warnings in accordance with the Attorney-General's guidelines.
Ms Walley : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list all past, current and proposed research commissioned or to be commissioned for or on behalf of the advisory panel on the review of the methodology of the traffic forecasts ; and when he intends to publish this research.
Mr. Key : No research has been commissioned for, or on behalf of, the advisory group. The Department has in progress several pieces of research particularly relevant to traffic forecasting, listed in my answer to the earlier question of the hon. Member on 23 May at column 53. The Department may consider letting more research on the advice of the group. No decision has yet been taken on the publication of this research.
Ms Walley : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what considerations underlay his decision to include on the advisory panel for the review of traffic forecasts methodology representatives nominated by road lobby groups but not representatives nominated by environmental groups.
Mr. Key : The members of the advisory group were selected by the Department of Transport for the expertise that they could contribute to the forecasting process. As I said in my answer to an earlier question by the hon. Member on 23 May at column 53, the members do not represent any interest or group.
Ms Walley : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will place in the Library a copy of the reports due on 10 June produced by heads of departments for the 20 per cent. efficiency targets for each of the next two years.
Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport in how many cases the Data Protection Act 1984 was breached in the instance of the DVLA releasing information on the owners of vehicles to community charge collectors.
Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on how many occasions in the last financial year the DVLA gave information on the owners of vehicles to community charge collectors in Scotland.
Mr. Key : In the last financial year, DVLA processed more than 5 million inquiries from the police and local authorities. Information on the number of inquiries by separate subject and local authority could be made available only at disproportionate cost.
Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to his answer of 21 March, Official Report , column 108 , regarding departmental employees, if he will give the total cost of employing each grade of staff.
Mr. Norris : The table shows total salary costs for each grade and grade equivalent at April 1993 expressed as an annual figure. The salary costs comprise basic pay, allowances, superannuation and national insurance contributions.
Grade |Total salary |cost |£ ------------------------------------------------ Grade 1 |108,598 Grade 2 |320,797 Grade 3 |1,652,525 Grade 4 |1,018,554 Grade 5 |5,901,718 Grade 6 |7,013,177 Grade 7 |27,275,123 SEO |29,127,629 HEO |31,144,504 EO |71,343,989 AO |55,932,859 AA |34,451,713 Traffic commissioners |374,136
Costs do not include 1993 pay settlements as these were not paid until after 1 April. They reflect all paid staff, including those working part time.
Mr. Gapes : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what restrictions currently exist on flights to and from London City airport ; and what is the current number of scheduled flights to and from London City airport.
Mr. Norris : The 1991 granting of planning permission for development at London City airport was subject to a number of conditions on the use of the airport. These include limits of 40 air transport movements per day at weekends, bank holidays and public holidays, 130 per day on other days and 36,500 air transport movements per calendar year. There are further restrictions which are expressed in terms of noise levels of aircraft.
In the 12 months to 31 March 1994, there were some 12,100 scheduled flights to and from London City airport. Currently on a typical weekday there are some 66 scheduled flights--Source : London City airport.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will place in the Library copies of the joint air miss working group reports on the air misses in the vicinity of Humberside airport on 23 May 1991 and 13 October 1992.
The hon. Member may also wish to know that with immediate effect, further copies of the quarterly published, collated reports of the joint air miss working group will be placed in the Library.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the reports his Department has commissioned from the Standing Advisory Committee on Trunk Road Assessment in the last 10 years ; what was the date of publication for each ; and if he will place each of the reports in the Library.
Mr. Key : In the last 10 years the Department of Transport has commissioned three reports from the Standing Advisory Committee on Trunk Road Assessment, as well as asking for advice on various specific trunk road appraisal issues. Two reports have been published ; "Urban Road Appraisal" dated June 1986, and "Assessing the Environmental Impact of Road Schemes" dated March 1992. A copy of each has been placed in the Library. The third, "Trunk Roads and the Generation of Traffic" which has recently been submitted to the Secretary of State, will be published when a response has been prepared. A copy of the report and Government response will be placed in the Library at that time.
Mr. Key : The Government have had many and various communications with the European Commission about road schemes during the last five years. A comprehensive analysis could not be undertaken without disproportionate cost.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is the annual running cost of his Department's Standing Advisory Committee on Trunk Road Assessment ; and from which subheads of which votes these funds are taken.
Mr. Key : The Standing Advisory Committee on Trunk Road Assessment running costs in financial year 1993-94 were £35,348.57 ; taken from the Highways, Safety and Traffic Administration subhead of class VI, vote 1, National roads, England.
Mr. Key : The terms of appointment of the members of the Standing Advisory Committee on Trunk Road Assessment ended on submission of the report, "Trunk Roads and the Generation of Traffic" in May 1994. A new committee has yet to be appointed.
Membership of the most recent committee was :
Mr. D. Wood QC, Principal of St Hugh's College Oxford
Mr. R. H. Stewart, Independent Planning Consultant
Dr. D. Coombe, Director, The MVA Consultancy
Dr. P. Goodwin, Director of the Transport Studies Unit, University of Oxford
Professor P. Hill, Director of the Transport Operations Research Group, University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Mr. D. Hutchinson, County Surveyor, Dorset County Council Mr. P. Mackie, Senior Lecturer in Economics, University of Leeds Miss A. M. Lees, Environmental Adviser. Formerly Controller of Transportation and Development, GLC
Mr. M. E. G. Taylor, Chairman of Eric R. Taylor (Services) Ltd.
Mr. Don Foster : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what measures he has taken to ascertain whether increase in volumes of traffic resulting from the improvements to the A46 from Upper Swainswick to Tormarton, together with the Swainswick Batheaston bypass will cause pollution in the centre of Bath to exceed European Union limits ;
(2) what are his Department's predictions for increases in numbers of vehicles per day, through Bath once the Upper Swainswick to Tormarton road scheme has been completed ;
(3) what is the current cost benefit analysis of the Swainswick section of the Swainswick-Batheaston bypass.
Letter from Lawrie Haynes to Mr. Don Foster, dated 22 June 1994 :
Trunk roads around Bath
A4/A46 Batheaston/Swainswick bypass and
Upper Swainswick-Tormarton improvement
I am writing in response to your three recent Parliamentary Questions to the Secretary of State for Transport about trunk road schemes near Bath. These are matters for which the Highways Agency is now responsible. Perhaps I may take your three questions in turn. Question 2648 --What is the current cost benefit analysis of the Swainswick section of the Swainswick/Batheaston Bypass?
Answer --The benefit to cost ratio for the Batheaston/Swainswick Bypass is 1.32 : 1. However, there are no figures available for just the Swainswick section as the analyses undertaken were concerned with the whole of the scheme.
Question 2647 --What are the predictions for increases in numbers of vehicles per day, through Bath, once the Upper Swainswick to Tormarton road scheme has been complete?
Answer --The trunk road improvements will improve access to Bath, but through north/south traffic must still cross Cleveland Bridge. The amount of traffic with a destination in Bath is unlikely to change but some redistribution on roads within Bath may occur. It will continue to be limited by the traffic restraint measures imposed by the Highway Authority and the number of parking spaces provided in the city. In the longer term we see the A36 East of Bath to Beckington scheme in combination with Batheaston and Swainswick bypasses helping through traffic to avoid Bath.
Question 2646 --What measures have been taken to ascertain whether increase in volumes of traffic resulting from the improvements to the A46 from Upper Swainswick to Tormarton, together with the Swainswick/Batheaston bypass will cause pollution in the centre of Bath to exceed European Union limits?
Answer --A traffic study has indicated up to 600 vehicles per day may transfer from other routes within Bath to the London
Column 243Road West as indicated in Mr. Nutt's letter of 28 March 1994. This will have no measurable effect on pollution in the centre of Bath. Construction work on the Batheaston-Swainswick bypass started in March this year. The work is programmed for completion in 1996. Development of the Swainswick-Tormarton improvement is at a comparatively early stage, and is subject to the satisfactory completion of the statutory procedures and the availability of funds.
Mr. McMaster : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what powers and duties he has to provide, or encourage the provision of, adequate access for disabled people to railway stations and rolling stock throughout the United Kingdom ; what plans he has to seek new powers and/or duties ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Freeman : I attach great importance to making provision for disabled people travelling on the railway. The Railways Act 1993 imposes a specific duty on the Rail Regulator to have particular regard to the interests of disabled people and requires him to draw up and encourage the adoption and implementation of a code of practice for protecting the interests of disabled users of rail passenger services and stations. As a condition of their licence, all operators of passenger services or stations are required to establish and comply with a statement of policy and detailed arrangements, procedures, services and other benefits to protect the interests of disabled people, taking account of the regulator's code of practice. The policy and arrangements have to be approved by the regulator.
Mr. McMaster : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he next plans to meet representatives of the privatised rail industry in Scotland to discuss the lack of access for disabled people to the premises and rolling stock at Gilmour Street station in Paisley ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Freeman : We have no plans to meet represent-atives of the railway industry in Scotland to discuss this specific issue. Much of our present railway infrastructure was constructed at a time when less attention was paid to the needs of disabled people. The existence of a code of practice, to be published shortly by the Rail Regulator, will mean that when new facilities are being designed, or old facilities refurbished, there will be a statutory code to which the designers can look to ensure that disabled passengers' needs are not forgotten. A sensible input at an early stage in the design can make all the difference and be of benefit to all passengers.
Mr. Harvey : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what means the Government will introduce to encourage port and harbour authorities to evaluate and set an integrated port fee which includes an appropriate charge for the disposal of waste such as oily waste, garbage and unwanted chemicals.
Mr. Devlin : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will introduce integrated harbour fees incorporating fees for handling oily wastes in order to encourage ships to use port waste-handling facilities.
Mr. Norris : The Marine Safety Agency is currently undertaking a comprehensive survey of the current provision of reception facilities in United Kingdom ports. Analysis of the survey results will indicate the extent to which charges for the use of reception facilities are integrated into harbour fees. Based on this information, the Government will decide what further action, if any, needs to be taken.
Mr. Harvey : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if the United Kingdom Government will seek through the International Maritime Organisation a requirement that when garbage is discharged from a ship at shore an entry is placed in the ship's log and that such entries are subject to checking.
Mr. Norris : The United Kingdom is taking an active role at IMO in the development of shipboard waste management plans and record keeping procedures for the discharge of garbage. Record books for the disposal of garbage will, when they are introduced, be subject to checks by port state control inspectors to ensure that the regulations are being complied with.
Mr. Rendel : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether his Department has examined the need for an outer harbour at Great Yarmouth ; and what plans he has to secure EU funding for such a harbour.
Mr. Norris [holding answer 21 June 1994] : Last year, as part of the study by the European Commission of trans-European transport networks, my Department invited ports to submit proposals for projects which fulfilled certain criteria designed to identify projects of Community interest. The Great Yarmouth port authority put forward a proposal for an outer harbour which appeared to meet the criteria. My Department therefore forwarded this proposal to the Commission, along with more than 100 other port projects, but without prejudice to any European or United Kingdom approvals which might be required, whether for statutory, planning or financial purposes. Although the Commission initially identified the Great Yarmouth proposal, with many other port projects, as potentially of common interest, the Commission's present position on financial support for ports projects generally, or for individual projects, is not resolved. Nor have I yet decided whether to support the project for EU funding.
Mr. Llwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment has been made of the likely impact of rural post office closures on total car use in rural areas ; and if he will make a statement.